I am not normally a recon kind of girl, but I love how easy t-shirt dresses come together. Also, I was disappointed in the lack of sports wear for little girls. It seems the stores have overpriced cheerleading outfits for toddler and then unisex shirts for kids. Megan needs a girl shirt to cheer her team! Plus this way I can customize it for her extra-long frame.
I usually start with the biggest men’s t-shirt I can find on sale:
Then I fold it in half, making sure I center the design. I usually cut off the sleeves at this point to make it easier to line up:
You can use a pattern, or cut up an existing shirt. I love using Carla’s raglan pattern for this project, available at youcanmakethis.com. Pin the pattern in place.
If I am making an a-line shape, I place the ruler at an angle coming away from the side and then cut with a rotary cutter. Today I am making a gathered skirt so I fold up the pattern to just below where the graphic on the t ends. Cut out and repeat for the back.
This is what I have so far:
Now I cut off the sleeves if I haven’t already:
Now I have the sleeve from the raglan pattern but I am going to shorten it up because I am going to used the hem from the existing sleeve and I like the look of the cap sleeve with these little dresses. Just make sure you mark where you lining it up so it’s even on both sides!
Here is the sleeve cut out:
Here are all four pieces ready to go:
Sew them together. I usually pin because those edges like to curl! Serge or zig zag stitch the edges. I topstitch for a neat look.
This is what it looks like all sewed together.
I have experiemented with different sleeve options and I really like elastic in the sleeves. The hem on the existing shirt makes a perfect casing for 1/4 inch elastic. I just measured Megan’s arm loosely for the length of elastic. Insert it in and tack at both sides.
Here is what I have so far:
Sew the sides, starting with the edge of the sleeves. If the bottom doesn’t perfectly line up I just trim it so it’s even. I make a rectangle out of the remaining t-shirt and run a long gathering stitch around. Then I pin the rectangle to the bodice, pick at the gathering stitches and sew into place.
Sew in the collar, this is the most stressful part for me. Just take it slow and be careful and you’ll be fine:
You make have noticed I used the existing hem whenever possible. It takes some practice to sew knit hems perfectly straight and I tend to cheat whenever possible. Another way to cheat is to do a lettuce hem. Set your machine on a narrow zig zag and pull the edge tight from front and back while sewing around the edge. I go around twice for a nice thick hem:
Here are some more examples, I hoped you enjoyed it! Megan wears these over jeans and as nightgowns too.